KIDSBOP! – LESSONS IN BRAINWASHING YOUR CHILD

I was always going to fertilise my child’s life with music.

In utero he heard Miles Davis In A Silent Way almost every night of the third trimester. His mother and I loved the album and often relaxed into its kind of blue groove, so why wouldn’t it enhance the development of a soon-to-be-released little one? [You can read my appraisal of this wonderful album here.]

Miles-Silent Way

When he entered the outer world there was no doubt less of the industrial level in-womb whoosh and shloosh, but certainly noise of many different kinds. His dad, having acquired a pretty serious record addiction sometime in his late teens, has zero tolerance for silence.

Early in his life, the boy became part of the library itself when he modelled for the cover of the annual compilation CD. Not being any sort of photographer, I was quite chuffed at the result.

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As he did not demand an exorbitant fee (half a biscuit, as I recall) and only slobbered over the case a bit, everyone was happy.

The next stage was creating CD compilations for him. Peter Gabriel’s “I Go Swimming” provided the title for a CD aimed at the weekly car trip to his infant swimming lessons. But this was merely warming up. Next came Yummy Yummy. It was diverse and (I thought) fun. Having invested considerable time and energy into its compilation I decided to share the joy by distributing it to everyone in our circle under the age of six.

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As the next in the Kidsbop! series was already in the planning stage, the package even included a feedback form to fine-tune selection for the next volume. To my astonishment, the expected deluge of orders did not eventuate.

Undeterred, I continued compiling.

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After going through a dozen CD jewel cases I finally alighted on the remarkable strategy of using covers that don’t break when you breathe on them

For those of a curious disposition, all the details – songs, artists  and release dates –  for the entire Kidsbop! series are listed below.

How were these labours of love received? Well, the boy certainly enjoyed most of the music, taking it on-board with the insouciance of childhood. With the last one, I tried really hard to include him in the process, auditioning tracks and getting his little thumbs up or down. Naturally, I could not resist exerting some influence. Free choice? Huh! With decades of accumulated listening, I know what’s good. Still, it was more of a collaborative effort and when he recently heard and named “Johnny B Goode” while we were in a local Charity Shop, the elderly volunteer ladies were duly impressed.

The comps get played now and then, mostly during long car trips. But on those rare occasions when he is invited to influence the musical atmosphere at home, he invariably chooses Kraftwerk’s Man Machine.

Kraftwerk-Man MachineKids love Kraftwerk. I bought another vinyl copy of Man Machine recently and filed it away, unopened, with a post-it note saying “For you if you want it”. I’m not entirely sure, but maybe I was wandering towards a place where older parents sometimes glimpse flickers of their own mortality out of the corner of a moistening eye.

And the boy? He wants to listen to the talking book of Roald Dahl’s The Twits.

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The Kidsbop! Series

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Yummy Yummy     [December 2006]

1       YUMMY YUMMY YUMMY – OHIO EXPRESS

2       IT WON’T BE LONG – THE BEATLES

3       LING TING TONG – THE FIVE KEYS

4       CHOO CHOO CH’BOOGIE – LOUIS JORDAN

5       BABY ELEPHANT WALK – HENRY MANCINI

6       MY NAME IS JACK – MANFRED MANN

7       GIVE HIM A GREAT BIG KISS – THE SHANGRI LAS

8       THE GNOME – PINK FLOYD

9       THE AIRPLANE SONG – THE ROYAL GUARDSMEN

10    MELLOW YELLOW – DONOVAN

11    I’M MAD AGAIN – THE ANIMALS

12    COCONUT – HARRY NILSSON

13    DRIVING IN MY CAR – MADNESS

14    STEP BACK – JOHNNY YOUNG & KOMPANY

15    GETTING BETTER – THE BEATLES

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Bom Bom     [February 2007]

1        BOM BOM – DADDY COOL

2        BLUE SUEDE SHOES – ELVIS PRESLEY

3        CHICKEN PAYBACK – THE BEES

4        MY FRIEND JACK – THE SMOKE

5        LS BUMBLEBEE – PETER COOK & DUDLEY MOORE

6        LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD – RAY ELLINGTON QUARTET

7        OO-POP-A-DA – DIZZY GILLESPIE

8        SICK MAN BLUES – THE GOODIES

9        THE MUSIC GOES ROUND MY HEAD – THE EASYBEATS

10     TEQUILA – THE CHAMPS

11     CLAPPING SONG –BELLE STARS

12     VEGETABLES – THE BEACH BOYS

13     MORNING TOWN RIDE – THE SEEKERS

14     HEADING FOR A FALL – THE HOLLIES

15     UP THE WOODEN HILLS – THE SMALL FACES

16     BRAINIAC’S DAUGHTER – DUKES OF STRATOSPHEAR

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Roar!     [May 2008]

1     ROAR (LION)

2     WILD THING – THE TROGGS

3     ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK – BILL HALEY

4     TWEEDLE DEE – LAVERNE BAKER

5     ABC – THE JACKSON 5

6     YOUR MAMA DON’T DANCE – BOOTLEG FAMILY

7     DOWN ON THE CORNER – CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL

8     BOOM BOOM – JOHN LEE HOOKER

9     MOONSHADOW – CAT STEVENS

10  WHAT A SILLY THING TO DO – THE TWILIGHTS

11  WORKING IN THE COAL MINE – DEVO

12  POCKET CALCULATOR – KRAFTWERK

13  PARIS 2079 – HAPPY MOOG

14  SUGAR SUGAR – THEARCHIES

15  WILD THING – THE GOODIES

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Goodness Gracious     [February 2012]

1       HIT THE ROAD JACK – RAY CHARLES

2       GREAT BALLS OF FIRE – JERRY LEE LEWIS

3       BORIS THE SPIDER – THE WHO

4       ROUTE 66 – THEM

5       LITTLE RED ROOSTER – ROLLING STONES

6       BAD BOY – THE BEATLES

7       57 CHANNELS (AND NOTHIN’ ON) – BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN

8       SCHOOL DAYS (RING! RING! GOES THE BELL) – CHUCK BERRY

9       I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND – THE BEATLES

10    ROADRUNNER – THE ANIMALS

11    JOHNNY B. GOODE – CHUCK BERRY

12    TOO MUCH MONKEY BUSINESS – CHUCK BERRY

13    THE PURPLE PEOPLE EATER – SHEB WOOLEY

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Afterword

Interviewed for this article, the child in question named the following as his favourites from the series:

Yummy Yummy Yummy – Ohio Express  [Vol.1]

Great Balls Of Fire – Jerry Lee Lewis  [Vol.4]

Boris The Spider – The Who  [Vol. 4]

Wild Thing – The Troggs  [Vol. 3]

My Name is Jack – Manfred Mann  [Vol. 1]

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Sources

Miles Davis “In A Silent Way” [Columbia 1969]

Kraftwerk “Man Machine” [Capitol 1978]

Roald Dhal “The Twits” [Penguin 1980]

Roar! cover image from:

Maurice Sendak “Where The Wild Things Are” [Harper & Row 1963]

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If you have just stumbled across Vinyl Connection,

feel free to wander back through the previous articles.

Comments are always welcome.

9 comments

  1. Always worth reading, Bruce – thank you.
    This leads me to think about my son, Alex, who spent a fair bit of time as a youngster being swung around the lounge room to, mainly, Spanish Caravan (The Doors: Waiting for the Sun) and Take Five (Brubeck CBS Collection). He’s not much of a traveller and is an aspiring pro Boxer. I don’t like the expression but ‘Go figure’.

    Carry me Caravan take me away
    Take me to Portugal, take me to Spain
    Andalusia with fields full of grain
    I have to see you again and again
    Take me, Spanish Caravan
    Yes, I know you can

    Trade winds find Galleons lost in the sea
    I know where treasure is waiting for me
    Silver and gold in the mountains of Spain
    I have to see you again and again
    Take me, Spanish Caravan
    Yes, I know you can

    Lyricsfreak.com © 2013

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    1. Yes, I see what you mean. No obvious evidence for a link between musical inculcation and subsequent life choices. Great lyric, though, isn’t it? Thanks for adding it into the page.

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  2. Very impressive! And if you’ve taught him “Johnny B Goode”, then you’ve done your job well. All that other parenting stuff is just gravy. 😉

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  3. […] in these grooves and although I have only begun appreciating the whole Christmas malarkey since the boy came along, John Zorn’s Dreamers Christmas has made a believer out of me. Rarely has the […]

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  4. The Prudent Groove · · Reply

    That’s awesome your little guy digs Kraftwerk! I imagine the appreciation for these comps will increase with age. For years as a late teen, I created a faux label complete with album art (and catalog numbers) for my circle. Although abandoned now, Silent Party Records was a fun little adventure.

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  5. I’ve always erred on the side of not wanting to frighten my kids off music by pushing at them too hard and too manically (as opposed to them just absorbing what we play anyway), and I think your little compilations are a lovely way of doing just that.

    My daughter is named after ‘Martha My Dear’ and at age 11 loves Black Keys last LP, whereas my son also loves Kraftwerk, but mostly loves orchestral film soundtracks.

    Am still waiting for one of them to approach me about thrash metal, or Can – ah well, I grudgingly suppose they have to find their own way!

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    1. It did occur to me that my diverse but constant playlist might produce an aversive response in the scion. But then, that would reduce the chance of competition for airspace!

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      1. Good move Bruce!

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  6. […] in these grooves and although I have only begun appreciating the whole Christmas malarkey since the boy came along, John Zorn’s A Dreamers Christmas (Tzadik 2011) has made a believer out of me. […]

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